HAMILTON: Skipper Kane Williamson and fellow opener Martin Guptill forged the highest partnership in Twenty20 Internationals to secure New Zealand a series-levelling 10-wicket victory against Pakistan in the second match in Hamilton on Sunday.
The 171-run stand between the pair bettered the previous record of 170 between South African openers Graeme Smith and Loots Bosman against England in a 2009 match at Centurion.
Williamson remained unbeaten after a 48-ball 72, while Guptill faced 10 more balls for his 87 not out as the Kiwis sealed victory with 14 balls to spare.
Earlier, a 63-run blast in 34 balls by Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik lifted Pakistan to 168 for 7.
Shahid Afridi’s side had a pedestrian start after they won the toss and elected to bat, with the first 10 overs producing 60 runs.
But when Malik and Akmal lashed out, the pace increased considerably with 108 scored off the second half of the innings. Umar Akmal’s heroics go in vain.
Akmal was unbeaten on 56 off 27 deliveries at the close while Malik made 39 off 30.
New Zealand, with an eye on the World Twenty20 in India in March, experimented with left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner opening the bowling while new-ball spearheads Trent Boult and Matt Henry sat out the match.
It was a switch which suited Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez who took 10 off the first over with a six and a four.
Santner was immediately removed from the attack with Corey Anderson and Adam Milne tasked with putting the brakes on the scoring.
Anderson claimed the wicket of Ahmed Shehzad for nine in his second over and when Santner was brought back in the seventh over he exacted revenge on Hafeez by having the opener caught at deep midwicket for 19.
Despite the first over, Pakistan were 67 for 3 when Grant Elliott claimed Sohaib Maqsood (18) at the start of the 12th over.
It signalled Malik and Akmal to lift the tempo. After 15 overs Pakistan were 116 for 3 and in the last five overs they added another 52.
Mitchell McClenaghan had the best bowling figures for New Zealand with two for 23.